×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fewer Films From Top Studios Featured LGBTQ Characters in 2017, GLAAD Reports

Major film studios featured nine fewer films with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) characters in 2017 compared to the year before, according to an annual report by media-advocacy organization GLAAD.

Only 14 of the 109 films counted by the New York-based organization featured an LGBTQ character last year, accounting for fewer than 13% of major studio releases produced by the top seven studios according to box-office share. The organization rates studios’ efforts as excellent, good, insufficient, poor, or failing.

No film studio has earned an excellent rating in the six years GLAAD has tracked LGBTQ representation in its Studio Responsibility Index. Universal and 20th Century Fox received the highest marks, earning an “insufficient” rating. Among the titles pointed out by GLAAD researchers were Universal’s “Get Out,” which suggested the family’s housekeeper, Georgina, is a lesbian and Fox’s “Alien: Covenant.” The sci-fi action-thriller featured a gay couple, though it wasn’t until after the death of the gay characters that their relationship became clear. Sony’s “Rough Night” also earned praise for featuring two main characters, Blair (Zoë Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer), who shared a kiss at the end of the movie, rekindling their romance.

Earning poor ratings were Disney and Sony. Lionsgate and Warner Bros. were rated as failing. Art house divisions like Fox Searchlight and Universal’s Focus Features were also analyzed as part of the report, but were not factored into their parent studios’ final rating.

The annual report is intended to pressure top movie studios to feature more LGBTQ characters and in more meaningful ways. This year, GLAAD issued a call to studios to ensure that at least 20% of major studio releases include LGBTQ characters by 2021 and 50% by 2024.

GLAAD and WME will host a panel Tuesday morning featuring Emmy-winning writer, actor, and producer Lena Waithe, intended to give a road map of how studios can better incorporate LGBTQ characters in films and televison.

“With wildly successful films like ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Black Panther’ proving that audiences want to see diverse stories that haven’t been told before, there is simply no reason for major studios to have such low scores on the Studio Responsibility Index,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, in a statement. “At a time when the entertainment industry is holding much needed discussions about inclusion, now is the time to ensure the industry takes meaningful action and incorporates LGBTQ stories and creators as among priorities areas for growing diversity.”

The report says that often, LGBTQ characters get very little screen time or appear as the butt of jokes. GLAAD researchers applied the Vito Russo test in evaluating the quality of characters. The measurement examines how well-rounded and integral the character is to the plot of the film.

While the report found fewer films featuring LGBTQ characters, it found some bright spots, including greater racial diversity of characters. Additionally, a larger share of films passed the Vito Russo test last year compared with previous years. Sixty-four percent of LGBTQ-inclusive films passed muster according to the scale, up more than 20 points from 2016.

Unlike past years, the report found no transgender characters in any of the films analyzed. Still, the report’s author, Megan Townsend, director of entertainment research and analysis at GLAAD, noted a handful of 2018 releases that could help move the needle next year.

“Though wide release films this year like ‘Love, Simon,’ ‘Annihilation,’ ‘Blockers,’ and Negasonic and Yukio’s relationship in ‘Deadpool 2,’ have raised the bar for LGBTQ images, studios must still do more to ensure that LGBTQ storylines and characters are included in fair and accurate ways. We hope that these films are the start of an upward trend of sustained progress,” Townsend said in a statement.

GLAAD’s breakdown of films by major studio:

20th Century Fox: 14 films, two included LGBTQ characters. Two films passed Vito Russo test.
Lionsgate Entertainment: 19 films, two included LGBTQ characters. Two films passed the Vito Russo test.
Paramount Pictures: 11 films, two included appearances by LGBTQ characters. Just one film passed the Vito Russo test.
Sony Pictures: 25 films, one included appearances by LGBTQ characters. One film passed the Vito Russo test.
Universal Pictures: 14 films, four included appearances by LGBTQ people. One film passed the Vito Russo test.
Walt Disney Studios: 8 films, one included an appearance by LGBTQ characters. One passed the Vito Russo test.
Warner Brothers: 18 films, two included appearances by LGBTQ characters. One passed the Vito Russo test.

More Film

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content